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Part 3 | Ireland, Food Security & Feed(ing the World) – Is Ireland Feeding Food?

A common criticism of ‘animal agriculture’ is that it uses human-grade food as a feedstock. It is also heard in Ireland, a country with a significant livestock population by European standards.  To what extent is it true that animal agriculture uses human-grade food? Stuart Meikle with part 3 of his series on Ireland, Food Security and Feeding the World. […]

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Rural Europe Takes Action | Seeds of Collaboration

“Rural Europe Takes Action – No more business as usual”, a policy guide for rural Europe by ARC2020 and Forum Synergies, launched in June 2022. Today’s extract from Rural Europe Takes Action tells the story of the Balkan Seeds Network, a network of scientists and seed savers’ organisations tapping into the rich biodiversity and agricultural heritage of South Eastern Europe to stimulate resilient food systems, and establishing a paradigm of collaboration for the Balkan region.  […]

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What France Can Teach Us About Rural Resilience

In the past two years, ARC2020 has been listening closely to voices on the ground in the French countryside. What have we learned? What do the participants have to say? And what’s next for the Nos Campagnes en Résilience project? The key themes emerging from the research so far were presented to the project participants at an online gathering in June, when a lively discussion helped to collectively shape the direction for the future. Report by the Nos Campagnes en Résilience team. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Watching, Waiting and Knowing When To Help

We’re back on Shane Casey’s farm in The Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland, where he has another busy spring of lambing and calving behind him. There’s only so much you can do to prepare – after that, it’s a question of watching carefully for the telltale signs in the ewes and cows. Shane’s father was an early adopter of livestream technology that makes the night watch a little easier. But successful lambing and calving depends on the farmer’s expertise as well as patience. Knowing if and when to intervene, whether to call the vet, and how to help the newborns find their feet.  […]

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Part 2 | Ireland, Food Security & Feed(ing the World) – Ireland and the Archipelago

Part two of four from Stuart Meikle on Ireland, food security and feed(ing) the world delves into the relationship Britain and Ireland have with each other  – the two main islands of the archipelago referred to in the article’s title. Part one (see below) focused on Ireland, food security and nitrogen supply. Here, trade, animal feed, meats, durable forms of diary all feature.   […]

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Op-Ed | Europe Eats the World

“Europe feeds the world” is a line often heard in EU policy debates and the media. A line often used to sideline calls to lower the impacts of European agriculture and to place “providing food” as the highest political priority. But is this line really true? In this op-ed lead author, Jabier Ruiz, of the WWF European Policy Office, summarises the main pieces of evidence gathered, which show that, far from feeding the world, Europe consumes more than its fair share. […]

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Denmark | Re-Scaling the Rural

ARC2020’s Louise Kelleher and Matteo Metta were among the speakers at “AlterRurality 6: Re-Scaling the Rural”, a conference held last month in a small Danish coastal village. The interdisciplinary conference aimed to initiate a critical investigation of past, current, and what may become future concepts and interpretations of rural life. Report. […]

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Letter From The Farm | Cresting the Peaks of Constant Change

We’re back at the foot of the Italian Alps, where Chiara Garini is growing like the shiitake mushrooms on her forest farm. Given our precarious, hyperconnected and crisis-stricken planet, Chiara is sticking with the realism of making and maintaining –food and employment, forest and qualify of life– over the idealism of saving the world. The farm is growing too, and the long-awaited renovation of an old building is helping the now-expanded team to diversify activities.  […]

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Rural Europe Takes Action | Much More Than Our Daily Bread

To celebrate the forthcoming launch of the new ARC2020 and Forum Synergies book “Rural Europe Takes Action – No more business as usual” we’re sharing extracts of the policy actions it calls for and the stories that underscore the importance of such action. Today we have the story of the Free Bakers Association (Die Freien Bäcker), an independent professional organisation of artisan bakers and confectioners founded in Hanover, Germany in 2011. […]

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France | Growing Vegetables, Seeding Values – Part 2

Why is it so important to open the farm gates to the community? Vegetable grower Vincent explains how he and his colleagues want their market garden, to be a site of coming together as well as a site of production. Vincent also opens up about the challenges of labour – for him as an unlikely ‘boss’, and for the workers who must be incredibly motivated to overcome the tough working conditions. Part 2 of a conversation with Valérie Geslin. […]

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Graduation then Desertion – French Ag Students Opting for a Different Path

Last week, French students at Agro Paris Tech  – France’s most prestigious agro-engineering school – staged a “call to desert” during their graduation speech. To desert? Yes, to desert the environmentally destructive engineering positions the university sets them up for after graduation. But these inspiring words and actions of these young people don’t match up to the government’s actions, nor the school’s response. A recap and analysis by Ashley Parsons. […]

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Diversification in Rural Ireland – event report

With many farms specialising, mixed farming in Ireland is now at only 3%. This compares to an EU average of 21%. Such specialisation has made Ireland vulnerable to global events as it relies heavily on feed and fertilizer imports for an export driven agri-food sector. Meanwhile, there has been a deterioration of ecosystems and a failure to reach climate targets. So what level of agri-food diversification is possible – and desirable – in Ireland? […]

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The Influence of EU Policies in National Rural Digitalisation

Digitalisation is progressing in rural areas around Europe in different ways. There are a number of reasons for variability in style and substance, as María Alonso-Roldán and Mar Delgado-Serrano of the DESIRA project show. The pair have engaged with experts in 15 countries. Here’s what they’ve found.  […]